Last month YWAM Harpenden graduated the September DTS 2014, so I chatted with a member of each outreach team to get the inside scoop on their outreaches and their growth process on DTS. From the East Asia team I sat down with Kay Kiser, who at 19 years of age, and freshly out of high school, speaks with eloquence and a deep resounding passion for Jesus. Coming into DTS she had never heard of YWAM before and had heard about Harpenden through a friend; and without applying anywhere else she applied to Harpenden straight away.
“I learned a lot about God [during the] lecture phase, but I learned a lot about God in action [while] on outreach. So, you know God is good, but what does that actually look like? The Holy Spirit can do miracles, but what do those miracles look like? And you know it’s not just a bunch of stories, it’s an actual life style.”
This nation is not one which encourages the free communication of religious ideas, so the team focused a lot on prayer and learning about the culture and the people who live there. In their last location, where they stayed for three weeks, they worked in a café and spent time encouraging the indigenous missionaries there and teaching English and building relationships with those students.
The team began by teaching with grammar and by the third week had escalated to discussing subjects they had learned about on their DTS, and ended with solidifying the relationships and encouraging them in their walk Jesus. “[This] was my favourite part of outreach because it showed me that God wanted to use me to teach and I never even knew that was something I wanted to do.”
Kay remarked that joining the East Asia team was a bit of a shock to her, as she has a passion for Africa. However, through opening her hands and asking God to use her, she found a deep love for East Asia and the people she encountered there. About this, she said to me, eyes glistening with joy, “I remember one time we were in a bus station and I was just so in love with everybody around me, I couldn’t speak their language, couldn’t tell them anything, but just like smiling at them. I never thought I would be at that place.”
I asked Kay if there was a time that stuck out to her as the embodiment of the outreach. She shared with me a story of when the team hiked three kilometres up a mountain to visit a village that had never before heard of Jesus. They played games and sang songs with the children, gave out snacks, and prayed over the people. One of the men they prayed for had been living with a throat disease his entire life, and when they prayed for him he was healed in the name of Jesus. Through his healing he wanted to know more about the God who healed him. “I think the reason this story would describe everything,” she said to me, “is because we walked into a dry place with one small spark and it caught on fire and I think that’s kind of what missions in Asia is like, it’s going to a dry place and it doesn’t matter how little faith you have, God will use that because the people are hungry for Him.”
Through the hard parts of being in a restricted-access nation, and even ending up somewhere that she didn’t picture herself, Kay would say she definitely caught the missions fever. “It’s hard work being surrounded by people who don’t really want to hear what you have to say, it’s a process but that’s what missions is. It’s not always hundreds of people coming to know God, it’s just loving people no matter what.”
As for what is next for Kay? Kay is returning to her home in North Carolina, USA, to pray and process her next steps. Of her ultimate hope for the future she remarked: “I definitely want to spend the rest of my life doing missions.”